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10 Best Tonkatsu Restaurants in 2022

Leo Saito
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This list is ranked by your personal preferences?

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Hi Saito San. Regarding Chawanbu, is walk in possible or do I need a reservation to visit?

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There are times when walk-ins are allowed, but it is safe to make reservations in advance.

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Thank you very much Saito San for the information. I will make sure to reserve first before I visit.

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Great list! Of the places that I have tried, my personal favorites are Tonta and Marugo. Their completely different styles make it very hard to choose just one as an overall favorite. There's just something about the breading and frying at Marugo that I find addictive, but I think that the meat and soup at Tonta are a little higher. It sounds strange to say but these days I think tonkatsu is the cuisine with perhaps the biggest gap between the best of Tokyo and what we are able to enjoy in the US, which means I crave it constantly! The only high quality tonkatsu I have ever found here is Tamafuji in Honolulu. At least here in the Bay Area there is nothing that can come close to a good place in Tokyo.

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Hi Saito-san, should Banbu not fit on this list anymore, or did you have a bad experience lately?

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I forgot to list Bamboo since I haven't been there recently lol.

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Hi Saito-san. Curious where it would Banbu would slot in your Top 10 list?

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It would be below ponta and above hassegawa.

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Thank you. I will try them out on my lastest trip!

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@mirugai Totally agreed that tonkatsu is probably the cuisine with the biggest gap when looking overseas. Here in Singapore, Saboten would be considered one of the better tonkatsu joints, haha.

Amongst the list, Keita has got to be one of my favourites simply because they let you choose the kind of frying you prefer (lighter or darker batter). The pork quality is also fantastic, yet the price remains noticeably more affordable than Narikura or Chawanbu.

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Photo of the hire at Chawanbu, for reference. The batter is fried in a light style, and the hire is served very pink. Note that unlike the hire, Chawanbu cooks their rosu much more thoroughly (medium well, bordering on well-done). So if you prefer the texture of medium pork, then hire is the way to go at Chawanbu.

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Just on Keita, the frying is the same (both are low temp fried in a big copper pot before transferring into hotter oil to finish) but the panko itself is different. The darker one just has more sugar in the panko.

Apparently the extra sugar in the panko that browns goes better with one of the pork breeds, while the low sugar panko goes better with the other.

The low temp fry on both means they both come out juicy and tender though.

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Anyone been to Kippei? I would like to know their style as well. Also, what’s the recommendation at Kippei? Thank you!

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Is this the Kippei you're referring to?

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Yes Kippei is excellent, and my favourite high temp fry tonkatsu.

I personally go for the Rib Eye because I like my tonkatsu rich. But if you shy away from fat, go for the Fillet. And if you want something in between, the Loin. I'm not sure if wasabi is still an add on, but if it is, you should add it on

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Thanks for clarifying, Eric! :) I wasn’t aware that it was just a change in sugar levels. I’ve only ever tried the breed with the darker fry, and not the lighter one to compare. That said, the low temp fry at Keita still seems to turn up a batter that’s more crunchy and less delicate than the one at Narikura though. I know Narikura has fans, but the texture doesn’t work for me (haha feels like eating powder snow). Keita hits the sweet spot for me.

Kippei looks good! What portion does their ribeye come in? Was absolutely defeated by Aoki’s 400g ribeye, and have never ordered one since, haha

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All good :) The extra crunch is likely due to the higher temp finish Keita does, which I believe Narikura does not do. For the record, I love eating powdered snow. Kakigori but in panko and pork form haha. Keita is excellent as well though.

It starts at 200g so don't need to commit to anything overly big. 400g is massive, I don't think I could even finish it with my large tonkatsu appetite!

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Any more information on
Also what breed is your favorite? I usually go for TokyoX if available but want to try others too

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Tai Fu pork(伊豆の豚湖豚) I chose for my visit was excellent.

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For tonkatsu bamboo, anyone know the best time to queue for it? Am getting mixed info from tabelog, some say 30 mins before opening, some say 15 mins.

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For your reference, when I went for dinner, there was no queue at all.

Unsure about lunch though, but I've heard 15 mins should be sufficient

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@eric ok thanks!

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